With the election in hand for the 36th Legislative District, State Rep. Harry Readshaw said he felt a deep sense of gratitude and respect for his constituents and knows they feel the same way about him.
“I think they appreciate what I’ve done during the last 10 legislative sessions,” Readshaw said, “and I just love these people.”
Despite missing out on endorsements from Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, as well as two of the city council members who share his district, voters thought Readshaw was the right candidate to send back to Harrisburg.
Readshaw, a Carrick native and family funeral home director, has deep roots in the area he’s represented since 1995. The 72-year-old Readshaw faced his first challenge since taking office from state Rep. Erin Molchany, a Mount Washington resident whose district is being eliminated through redistricting. She noted the loss of that district in her concession speech.
"I honestly believe that I left everything out on the field," Molchany said. "There is nothing I could've done, we could've done. It was an uphill battle with only 20 percent of my current district being in the new district. I think it was just a matter of geography."
The two candidate’s views diverged on a number of fronts — from abortion rights to gun control and same-sex marriage — all of which Readshaw opposes and Molchany favors. But the issue on which he and Molchany clashed the most was Act 89, the transportation legislation signed into law last year that pays for infrastructure and public transit through increased driver fees and the uncapping of a gas tax on gas wholesalers.
“I think there were other ways to pay for it, by increasing the drilling fees for example,” Readshaw said. “I was not for taxing the people and letting them bear the whole load, and I think that resonated.”
Molchany voted for it, while Readshaw voted against it, saying he felt a tax on natural gas was the best way to fund transit in the state. Molchany said she was proud of the campaign her team ran.
"I'm really excited about everyone who's been engaged with this campaign," she said. "To have the opportunity to stand up for people who really didn't have a voice for so long — women and civil rights."
State House District 36 includes Carrick, the South Side, Baldwin Borough, Brentwood, Mount Oliver, West Homestead and Whitehall.